℗ Un mage en été

Contemporary Theater

  • Title: Un mage en été
  • Theater piece
  • Duration: 1h30
  • Collaboration: Computer Music Design
  • Text: Olivier Cadiot
  • Director: Ludovic Lagarde
  • Actor: Laurent Poitreneaux
  • One actor and electronics
  • World Premiere: Festival d’Avignon, Théâtre municipal, 20-27 Juillet 2010
  • Performances: About 100 dates world-wide
  • http://brahms.ircam.fr/works/work/28265/
  • more info

One solo actor, L. Poitreneaux, plays a “magician” able to transform is identity to make us traveling through space and time.

First, the author, O. Cadiot, while writing the piece, wanted to listen to how the actor could pronounce the text without having him to speak it.
So we recorded two hours of the actor’s voice and of the voice of the writer himself too.
Then we segmented and analysed those corpus, and feed a previously developed concatenative Text-To-Speech synthesizer, ircamTTS.
Normally, this method needs at list six hours of recordings, so the results using only two hours were a bit trashy.
Let’s listen to how sound a trashy synthesis:

After the piece written, began the work on stage with the actor. As he was constantly transforming himself into several other characters, we spent time to tune some voice effects to confer him new identities. Here is an excerpt from a performance, in Avignon, where he is switching from his natural voice to the voice of Nietzsche !

Of course, as we did not have any clue about Nietzsche’s voice (no recordings so far), we listen carefully to first recordings (around 1920) and read the press about what people said about Nietzsche’s voice. We did the same with Elliphas Levy:

And also with Marcel Proust:

Other voice processing effects were needed to illustrates the transportation of the mage. In this example, he is rising up, leaving the ground and reaching the sky as if he were zooming out with google-map:

In this other transportation example, he is traveling as a data trough the net:

And in this one, he is shrinking himself towards atomic particles:

At the end of the show, after a spatialization effect, he is smoothly going underwater:

Metaphorical effects, like this one, could also aims at illustrating instantaneously what is said, e.g. “a flight of doves”:

Another metaphorical effect transform his voice into a musical instrument while he is speaking about an harmonium:

At a moment he is becoming schizophrenic, a special effect freezing vowels sounds as a shadow voice complaining:

Among voice effects, I work a lot on a “all-the-time cinematographic soundtrack”: